The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin

Thursday 8th April 2010 - Live music exemption is election issue

Entertainment licensing for small gigs has become an election issue.

On Tuesday, a Labour party spokesperson suggested that licensing minister Gerry Sutcliffe had already made up his mind to proceed with an entertainment licensing exemption for 100-capacity gigs - even before DCMS had evaluated the 800 exemption consultation responses. Last October Sutcliffe suggested that the figure would be open to negotiation when the DCMS exemption consultation was over (it closed on 26 March).

Today, both trade papers report renewed Conservative backing for a 200-capacity exemption:

Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt told The Publican:

"We support the campaign to extend the exemption from requiring a licence for live music performances to 200 people. The Licensing Act was meant to support the live music industry, but has turned out to be a disaster. Extending the exemption to 200 people will reduce the burden of bureaucracy on pubs, and provide a much needed boost to the live music industry."

The Publican itself is among those campaigning for a 200-capacity exemption:

Today's Morning Advertiser coverage:

Lord Clement-Jones' live music bill, which made it to the Commons, has now fallen. It was not included in the secretive and undemocratic Parliamentary 'wash up' that finishes today. This is where last minute deals are done to get some bills through before an election. An excellent article today by Alex Stevenson of sheds more light on the wash-up:

Lib Dem shadow culture secretary Don Foster has suggested that they would consider bringing back a bill after the election.


Hamish Birchall